Gillian Sutherland's first work addressed government in nineteenth-century Britain, and the essays she edited in 1972, Studies in the Growth of Nineteenth-Century Government, have remained a standard work, republished in a new library edition in 2010. She focussed then on developing structures of government in education; more generally she has worked to place education firmly within the mainstream of British political, social, cultural and economic history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has published extensively on elementary education, on intelligence testing between 1880 and 1940, and on the transformation of the education of women. She ran the international conference, 'The Transformation of an Elite?' commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the admission of women to full membership of the University of Cambridge in 1998, and she delivered the nineteenth-century lecture in the History Faculty series for the University's 800th anniversary celebrations in 2009. Her most recent book with Cambridge University Press was Faith, Duty and the Power of Mind: The Cloughs and their Circle, 1820–1960 (2006). Retired now from full-time teaching, she remains research-active as a Fellow of Newnham College and a member of the History Faculty at Cambridge.